I thought the first days of our adventure would be at least pleasant, if not delightful. Despite forecasts to the contrary, I envisioned glowing sunrises as water-men broke the still waters on their way out to fishing, clear azure skies filled with brisk, refreshing breezes flowing through white sails, and sultry brilliant red sky sunsets streaming light into the cockpit as we eat dinner, waiting for full darkness when the Milky Way bursts across the inky sky above the mast. Hold that thought, because in first seven days, we sailed only three hours at the beginning and three hours at the end after we turned into the York River.
It was a foul weather gear trip. The sky belched smoky low clouds, hazy heavy humid air flattened the water one day and then on the next birthed torturous high winds that mixed the Bay into six-foot white-capped rollers with added doses of rain.
Dolce Vento rode the churning Bay waters well on the stormiest day. She sliced through the waves, a sharp knife cutting a blazing 7 knots or better (that’s flying in boat speak). She swayed and heeled 30– 35 degrees from side to side each time a “big one” tried to bite us in the stern as they lifted us up then plunged us down. While John, experiencing his first dose of rough weather, gritted his teeth, reiterating hourly why he didn’t like roller coaster rides, Cindy and I laughed and giggled like kids, moving with the boat as you would a motor cycle going around curves and bends in the road.
While being tested by the weather, we faced a challenge or two with the boat’s systems. From a mechanical perspective, the following befell us:
- A mysterious, hard to find, small diesel fuel leak in the engine surprised us all after the 1000 hour engine maintenance just the week before. After 12 hours over three days, Cindy found the bugger’s source. One UPS express shipment and a some time by the certified Yanmar diesel mechanic should fix it.
- I, idiot for a day, while at anchor, started up the diesel generator to recharge our batteries before opening the thru hull that brings cooling raw water thru the generator engine. This fried its impeller, a small rubber object that pulls water up into the engine like a water wheel in a grist mill that grinds grain into flour. John helped Cindy trace the lines and replace the impeller (yes we had a spare). The generator panel now has a large label on it “OPEN THE THRU HULL”. I will never forget again.
- Our chart plotter literally ran out of charts on Saturday. Seems our 2012 two gig Navionics microchip is too small to hold all the charts we will need and needs to be replaced with at least a 16 gig one. It’s ordered and “in the mail”.
- Our aft toilet VacuFlush started banging three days ago. We can only hope that Cindy can work a miracle with this 2006 aging rather stinky and messy contraption. It was one of the first jobs she worked on over a year ago — deja vu all over again.
There is one very bright spot on the week. Sailing friends Susan and Bruce and Jim (yes, my sailor ex-husband) from our sailing days in the late 1980’s were here to greet us at Yorktown Marina. The reconnections are good for my soul.
We look on the bright side — the adventure can only get better. We can’t turn back now. Dolce Vento is our home, not a vacation venue. Onward and southward. At least there is no threat of hurricane looming ahead of us.